NFL Draft Q&A With Justin Durant

Even when you're a dominating player at the Division I-AA level like Hampton LB Justin Durant, some NFL teams will have their doubts about how that player will perform against pro-level talent. And that just gives him more fuel to prove any doubters wrong. Learn more about him in this exclusive interview.

ET: What drives you from day to day and makes you so hungry to get back out on the football field?

JD: Coming from the school I'm coming from, the conference I'm in, being a I-AA person, they say things like "he's raw" or "he's not disciplined". I try not to listen to it, but at the same time of course you have to hear it. So I just strive to go out there and prove people wrong and prove that I belong.

ET: A lot of people see you fitting in the NFL as a safety or as a perfect fit for the Cover-2 scheme at linebacker. Where do you see yourself fitting in?

JD: I feel like I could play basically anywhere. I played middle linebacker in college. I feel like the WILL (weakside) was a good move for me, but I also think I can play the MIKE (middle). As far as safety, I feel like if they want me to play that I'll play it. I'm willing to do whatever for the team.

ET: Are many teams talking to you about playing safety?

JD: I really haven't heard anything about the safety move, I've just been hearing about Will and Mike linebacker.

ET: What teams did you talk to at the Combine and really get a good feel for and you felt they got a good feel for you?

JD: I talked to Coach Tomlin of the Steelers, Coach Payton of the Saints, Coach Del Rio from the Jaguars. I talked to the Ravens and the Bills. I had about fourteen interviews, and I got a pretty good feel for each and every one of them. And I think they got a good feel for me and what I can do.

(Mark Sutton/Mark's Digital Photography)

ET: I heard Marvin Lewis of the Bengals had an interest in you and I'd be surprised if you hadn't seen a lot of interest from Tony Dungy…

JD: I didn't actually get to meet face-to-face with coach Dungy, but I did have a little meeting with the Colts.

ET: It seems like they would be a good fit for you.

JD: Yeah, I feel that way also.

ET: What was your meeting with Marvin Lewis like?

JD: It was pretty good. I think I really showed a lot. They put me up on the board to see what type of defense I ran and what kind of calls I had to make. I knew what everybody on the field was doing besides me. I'm the type of person who likes to know what everyone else on the field is doing so I can play that much faster.

ET: Was there anything memorable from meeting with Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin since he's a new head coach?

JD: He was actually the only coach who asked me all the questions. It was like a one-on-one, just me and him face-to-face. The rest of the organization was sitting on the other side of the room and they asked me a couple of questions too, but it was mainly a one-on-one interview. That was something that was a little different for me from the other teams.

ET: What was it that you didn't want to leave the room without a team knowing about you as a person?

JD: My will and my drive is going to be something that's second to none. I'm passionate about what I do and I'm thorough with everything.

ET: Do you think you'll be able to carry that confidence and drive to the next level as your out there on the field with guys you've watched on TV and you may have idolized?

JD: Yeah, I have no choice. If you don't trust in your own ability, who else is going to do it? I look at myself as having a lot of talent. I just need to go out there and show it and put in the work and continue to work and not get complacent in what I've done or where I am right now and just continue to strive to be the best.

To learn more about Justin Durant, visit his player profile page. And click here if you missed the first half of his interview.

A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the network and syndicated through's NFL team pages.

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